Generally speaking, acupuncture is a part of traditional Chinese medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine is a holistic method, according to which acupuncture points are chosen for each patient individually. At the same time, there are only limited ways that organ systems can become imbalanced. According to the authors of one research study, “Eight TCM patterns are regarded as typical for female infertility” (Birkeflet, Laake, & Vøllestad, 2012), and these eight TCM patterns, which are the eight different ways that imbalance among organs can occur, determine what points may be selected for fertility treatment. “Acupuncture points KI3, LI3 and SP6 were chosen for almost all women, whereas CV4, CV3 and ST29 were chosen more often for infertile women (p<0.03), and SP3 more often for fertile women (p<0.001)” (Birkeflet, Laake, & Vøllestad, 2012).
Possible Variations in Acupuncture Points for Infertility
Modern advances in science and extensive research in acupuncture during the last few decades made acupuncture practitioners take into consideration various underlying health issues that can and do influence fertility in patients. For example, Hashimoto disease is an autoimmune disorder associated with underactive thyroid gland functions that can also cause infertility. To treat infertility in women with Hashimoto disease, many acupuncturists would choose such point combination as “RN23, ST9, RN17, RN4, RN6, ST36, SP6, KI6” (Li et al., 2020). Considering that many patients, men and women, have various health issues that can and do cause infertility, acupuncture point selection can vary significantly from patient to patient and even from treatment to treatment (Lee et al, 2020).
Unexpected Acupuncture Point for Fertility
Medical tests of many patients who have trouble conceiving show no abnormalities, and yet the women still can’t get pregnant. From the western medical standpoint, such factor as stress alone can be enough to cause infertility (Rooney & Domar, 2022; Gana, K., & Jakubowska, S. (2016). Stress, from traditional Chinese medical standpoint, can be different. Each emotion is associated with a specific organ and indicates its malfunction. Depending on which organ or organs are involved, the point selection would be different. These variations may involve a couple of additional points or a completely different treatment strategy. Acupuncture practitioners need to diagnose and decide on the treatment strategy for each individual patient.
- Birkeflet, O., Laake, P., & Vøllestad, N. (2012). Traditional Chinese medicine patterns and recommended acupuncture points in infertile and fertile women. Acupuncture in Medicine, 30(1), 12-16.
- Gana, K., & Jakubowska, S. (2016). Relationship between infertility-related stress and emotional distress and marital satisfaction. Journal of health psychology, 21(6), 1043-1054.
- Lee, Y. S., Ryu, Y., Yoon, D. E., Kim, C. H., Hong, G., Hwang, Y. C., & Chae, Y. (2020). Commonality and specificity of acupuncture point selections. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2020.
- Li, F., Qi, Z., Hua, L., Wang, X., Ling, M., & Juan, D. (2020). The efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment and the fertility improvement in child-bearing period female with Hashimoto Disease: A randomized controlled study. Medicine, 99(27).
- Rooney, K. L., & Domar, A. D. (2022). The relationship between stress and infertility. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience.